GRR

1950s American excess comes to the Goodwood Revival

07th September 2023
Adam Wilkins

Bookending a row of European touring cars in the Goodwood Revival paddocks are two over-sized four-doors from the United States of America. They’re so excessive in length that they each occupy two paddock spaces so they can be parked at angles that prevent them protruding into the walkways. Each one is a lesson in 1950s excess, but it’s the Studebaker Golden Hawk that we’re focusing on right now.

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The lavish Raymond Loewy styled saloon has actually appeared at Revival once before in the hands of former owner Bruce Chapman, who shared it with former Formula 1 racer Jochen Mass. That was back in 2014, just one year after it had been imported into the UK and sympathetically converted to race specification in a way that can be reversed. At the time Mass described the car as a ‘lead swan.’

The car changed hands just two weeks ago, and Avit Motorsport’s Ewan Sergison was tasked by new owner Guy Marham to get it Revival ready. “Looking at the photos from 2014, Mass was sitting about six feet higher going round a left-hand corner as he is a right-hand corner because of the body roll,” says Ewan. “They’ve made a lot of alterations to the car to try to make it handle better after Jochen’s comments but it hasn’t been driven since. We’re the guinea pigs.

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1950s saloons battle at the 2023 Revival | St. Mary’s Trophy

09th September 2023

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“With us only having it two weeks we didn’t have a chance to do any testing. It’s pointless testing at a random circuit so we decided to just wait and see how it goes.” Low-speed driving has revealed some of its quirks. “It’s quite a double-decker bus to drive,” continues Ewan. “The steering has about sixes inches of play in it.”

Being so new to the car, Ewan has modest expectations for Revival weekend. “If we see the chequered flag in all four sessions, that’s the main thing,” he says. “It was pretty much keeping up with tail-end charlies when Jochen was driving it so he should be making it go well.” The professional driver this time is three-time Le Mans class winner Darren Turner and Ewan’s goal is to get as close to his times as possible.

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2023 Goodwood Revival results

09th September 2023

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“Driving anything at Goodwood is fun," he says. “The slowest car I’ve driven round here before is a Connaught L2 so we’ll see how the lap times compare. Theoretically the Studebaker should be faster but it’s all a bit of an unknown for us.” He has also driven some quick machinery around Goodwood, including pre-war grand prix cars, front-engined F1 cars, a Cobra and even the car that holds the pre-1966 lap record, the ex-Mike Whittaker Lola T70.

Avit Motorsport always adds some flair to its Goodwood outings, and will be playing 1950s rock ’n’ roll music on the way down the tow road towards the assembly area, with team members dressed in matching attire. After Goodwood, the rollcage will be removed and the bench seat reinstalled for an outing at the Mille Miglia.

But right now, Ewan is enjoying the atmosphere at Revival. “We’re lucky enough to attend some great events all over the world, but the Goodwood Revival is by far the best.”

Photography by Pete Summers.

  • Revival

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